Sunday, July 28, 2013
Military Chaplain in Trouble for Offending Atheists
A chaplain at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska was ordered to remove a religious column he had written titled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave all in World War II,” because it allegedly offended atheists serving on the Air Force base.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes confirmed to Fox News that he wrote the original essay that appeared in his “Chaplain’s Corner” column on the base website.
Reyes recounted the origin of the phrase “There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.” Father William Cummings has largely been credited with uttering the phrase in Bataan during World War II.
President Eisenhower referenced the phrase during a speech to the American Legion in 1954, noting “I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes.”
Reyes ended his essay with a reflection on faith.
“Everyone expresses some form of faith every day, whether it is religious or secular,” he wrote. “Some express faith by believing when they get up in the morning they will arrive at work in one piece, thankful they have been given another opportunity to enjoy the majesty of the day, or express relief the doctor’s results were negative.”
Reyes did not attack or insult atheists or non-believers in his column.
However, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation accused Reyes of going on an “anti-secular diatribe” and publicly denigrating “those without religion.”
The Air Force agreed and approximately five hours after the MRFF complained, they removed the chaplain’s essay.
Duffy did not respond to an email requesting information on the specific Air Force policies that the chaplain's essay violated. Ironically, the Air Force left six complaints about the essay on their website.
Crews said the incident is yet another example of chaplains facing attacks for expressing their religious beliefs.
“Chaplains have religious liberty as well to speak to issues,” he told Fox News. “Mr. Weinstein appears to want to silence any speech of faith in the military. It is a sad day for the Air Force and for our country when officers obey every command from Weinstein to silence even chaplains from talking about their faith.”